Generosity in support of EU applicant countries is the opposite of "ourselves alone", says O'Donnell
Speaking in support of the Nice Treaty referendum bill in the Dáil today, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Liz O'Donnell, T.D., appealed to the Irish people's sense of solidarity with the peoples of the applicant States to ratify the Nice Treaty.
'The Nice Treaty is about the hope of a stable, peaceful and prosperous future for the nations of Europe. It is about creating an EU which is able to welcome in as many as 13 new member states and 180 million more people.'
Minister O'Donnell pointed out that the peoples of the applicant member states had suffered from internal and external oppression throughout the 20th century. 'The scale of the achievement of ending that oppression once and for all, which becomes possible within European institutions, would be magnificent', she said.
'Our sense of solidarity with the applicant states is a function of our wider solidarity with less fortunate nations. The evidence lies in out people's commitment to overseas aid and emergency relief', she added.
Turning to the opponents of the Nice Treaty, Ms O'Donnell said, 'We must appeal to the strong strain of generosity in the Irish people. This will contrast with the appeal to fear and insular approval of many of those who are opposing the Treaty.'
'It was never a matter of 'ourselves alone' in Ireland. The whole European Union project has itself been the very anti-thesis of 'ourselves alone'. It has been 'we together'.
The Minister said it was 'grimly consistent of Sinn Fein, a party of narrow nationalism, to oppose the Nice Treaty. It is a black irony to hear the party of the paramilitary republican movement falsely accusing the legitimate governments of the European Union of increased militarism'.
'Here we have Sinn Fein looking for the demilitarisation of the whole European continent, while the decommissioning of paramilitary weapons is painfully slow in one small part of Europe.'
The Minister refuted the claims of opponents of the Nice Treaty that it created a European super state. 'We are against a European federal super-state too, and I would not recommend the Irish people to vote for one. But that is decidedly not what the Nice Treaty does.
She also said 'the EU is not a military alliance and is not about to become one. Otherwise, why would countries which want to be in a military alliance want to join NATO as well as the EU?'
The opponents of the Nice Treaty had 'no positive suggestions to offer as to how enlargement can practically be achieved', she said. They put forward no viable, alternative negotiating strategy because 'the politics of the Greens, of Sinn Fein and of single issue pressure groups, are the lazy politics of opposition, of constant, unconstructive and grievance-laden opposition.'
Minister O'Donnell concluded,
'Enlargement of the European Union is an opportunity, not a threat. It will be seen as the major act of greatness of the European Union at the start of the 21st century. The Nice Treaty changes are reasonable compromises between all EU member states to make enlargement possible. I believe the Irish people will see it this way and vote for the Nice Treaty.' Top